The app market is booming with the increase in smartphone and internet users. Businesses who started off with the conventional websites to cater to their target audience, are now moving towards that one device we all spend most of our time on – mobile.

According to VentureBeat, the app economy could double to $101 billion by 2020. This only goes to say how businesses will move their revenue models more towards apps than the web.

app economy

But with the rise in the number of app in the market, there is also an increasing challenge coming in place – acquiring and then retaining those users.

Smartphone users practically have at least a thousand options in any category of apps that they could download from. Acquiring users is not just a matter of standing out, but also consistently optimizing your marketing strategies and budgets. While acquiring users is something that businesses are still able to execute, retaining them is the tougher part of the model.

The average app user retention rate is considerably low as compared to when the app market started. The reason being that people are spoilt for choice and don’t find a good reason to remain loyal to one app – anything that promises a better experience or is trending in the market, is what they download.

For instance, what do you think is the current retention rate of games with Pokemon Go trending across the world?

The answer is low, very low.

Don’t believe us? Here’s what an average app’s retention problem looks like:

app retention rate problem

How to boost your app retention rate starting today

The true key to measuring the retention rate of your app is to understand how frequently your users are returning to it – starting from the first time they downloaded and used the app.

This metric plays a big role in the mobile growth stack because higher the retention rate, greater are the chances of the user recommending your app in his circles and helping you grow it organically.

So here’s taking a look at some ways to boost your app retention rate:

1. Personalized onboarding

The first and foremost thing that determines how a user is going to use your app, is the onboarding you offer. It is important to understand who your target users are, where they are coming from and what they are looking for, to give them an onboarding accordingly.

It is important that you personalize their experience right from the beginning. This not just helps you gather the important data from the user, but also ensure he explores the app as you’d prefer. It is like giving your user a direction to move in, so that he doesn’t get confused and leave the app.

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For instance, beats music starts off its onboarding process in a simple step-by-step manner. They ask the user for the information they think is important and would help them personalize their in-app experience.

beats music onboarding

2. Push notifications

While some app developers and marketers consider push notifications intrusive, the truth is that they are actually not. Smartphone users always have the option to turn on/off the notifications as well as define the way they want to be notified – via an alert, a message, a badge icon, etc.

Implementing push notifications in your app helps you create a retention strategy wherein you can reach out to your users time and again with a personalized message. The notification serves as a reminder of the app to the user and a nudge to bring him back to it. Although, it is important that you fully understand your user’s behaviour on your app and test the frequency of push notifications that you must maintain.


Source: Urban Airship

Almost 80% of smartphone users opt in to push notifications from the apps they download. The reason being that they expect some value from the app, and don’t want to miss out on any news. Although, you have to ensure that you’re adding value to them each time, or they’ll also be the fastest to opt out.

Companies like Wigzo provide you with the tools that help you create effective push notification campaigns. It enables you to segment your audience and target them with custom campaigns, to drive even more conversions.

Wondering how to create the perfect push notification? Here’s your guide: The guide to leveraging from push notifications.

3. Embracing wearables

Wearables are a big part of effective mobile marketing strategies. In fact, according to PWC, the wearable technology is all set for exponential growth and marketers will definitely need to include them in their business strategies.

Since wearables are devices that are constantly going to remain with a user, they present an opportunity to marketers to communicate with them more often. Be it notifications, reminders or simply updates about the app, using wearables will ensure your app remains at the top of their minds at all times.

For instance, Kim Kardashian West’s Forbes recognised app actually uses wearable to remind the users of an event occurring in the app or to bring him back with a message.

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4. Creating a community

Create a community of your users – right from the beginning. Be it a Facebook group or in-app community, give them a platform to consistently network with each other as well as communicate with you.

This also gives you the opportunity to send out broadcast messages related to app updates, events and other marketing campaigns.

Another aspect that a community takes care of, includes addressing user concerns on time. Most of the times apps lose their users simply because they were not able to address a problem or resolve an issue stated by him. This also leads to the user losing interest and faith in the app, moving on to another from the mobile market.

5. In-app chats

Another way to keep your users hooked to your app, is to implement in-app chats. This ensures that the user doesn’t need to switch to another app just to communicate with his friends. If he has the ability to chat simultaneously with his people, he is more likely to stay longer on the app as well as have a higher retention rate.

This also opens the opportunity for you to ask the user to invite his friends and family to the app. If the user is happy with his in-app experience, he will be sure to recommend it in his circles – helping you grow organically, as well as boosting your in-app chat strategy. One needs to have his people around all the time, right?

And of course,

6. Email campaigns

Irrespective of what your app offers, email marketing is something you just can’t exclude from your user retention strategy. Emails serve as a direct channel for communicating with your users – they are more likely to only focus on what you have to say and convert on the same.

But the ground rules remain the same, your email needs to highly personalized and contextual in nature, or you’re just going to end up in spam.

For instance, here’s a user recovery email campaign by Runkeeper – it subtly reminds the user that he hasn’t ran for a few days – at the same time pitching to bring him back to the app.

runkeeper email marketing

Over to you

Just like other marketing strategies, it is important to implement personalization in apps as well. It is not just about the acquisition campaign you run, but also about how well you’re able to optimize a user’s experience in-app and drive him towards a conversion.